Building your SharePoint intranet from the ground up or employing a standard intranet solution?

A case for the standard approach

Employing SharePoint as the platform for the organisation’s new intranet, you face at least one very decisive question: Will you build the new SharePoint intranet from the ground up or will you employ a standard intranet solution??

This blog post should have been an objective overview of the pros and cons related to both ways of building an intranet on SharePoint. The process of researching and writing, however, has brought us to the conclusion that we cannot make such an objective overview. As one of our developers puts it when asked about the advantages of building a SharePoint intranet from the ground up: “If you have around 200.000 Euros you just don’t know how to spend, building a SharePoint intranet from scratch is a good idea.” Therefore, this post will argue why we think the standard solution is the way to go.

Experience has brought us to the conclusion: Standard just works!

As a SharePoint consultancy offering a standard intranet solution for SharePoint, we cannot offer complete neutrality on this matter. What we can offer though is experience and insight from both sides of the case. Before we invented our own standard intranet solution to SharePoint, Wizdom, we delivered several intranet projects on SharePoint where we did in fact build the intranet from the ground up – every single time. What we found was that months of analysing, planning, programming, developing and implementing very often ended out in final intranet results which were very similar to one another. Therefore, we were able to build Wizdom as a standard intranet solution containing exactly the functionality we experienced organisations needed for their intranet. After the invention of Wizdom, we have seen the standard solution work – in fact we have seen it work as a very effective, low-cost and valuable solution – and we have become fans as well as advocates of this way of creating a SharePoint intranet.

SharePoint Intranet

An estimated overview of how much development, and hence resources, it takes to implement a SharePoint intranet with a standard solution versus from the ground up.

Standard vs. completely customised – wherein lies the difference?

The difference between the two approaches, we have experienced, lies primarily in seven different factors to consider: Financial resources, time, need of development, functionality, design, responsibility and matching the future. In the following schedule, we explain these differences in further detail:

SharePoint intranet build from the ground up

SharePoint intranet build on a standard solution

Financial resources

You will have to spend a whole lot of financial resources while analysing, planning, programming, developing and implementing the organisation’s new intranet

This approach demands fewer resources because a great deal of the analysis, planning, programming and development is already done. Therefore, it saves your organisation costs.


Building your intranet from the ground up takes time – there is no way around that fact. We have witnessed one to many SharePoint intranet projects taking six months to a whole year – or even longer than that.

A standard solution will save you time. With Wizdom we say you can have a new SharePoint intranet up and running in a week. This is possible – so far we have succeeded in this with one client. But mostly it will take longer. A new intranet involves a lot of internal decision making in the organisation in question. This, among other unexpected happenings, can take time. A new intranet completely ready to go in two weeks till one month is the norm for our business.

Need of development

Lots of development is required when you build a SharePoint intranet from the ground up. It lies in the nature of this approach.

With a standard solution you will need less development. However, most organisations will still need development of a standard solution to make it truly fit special needs.


Building your own solution from the ground up gives you total freedom regarding the site functionality. You will not have to compromise at all.

In a standard solution you will be able to choose which functionality to apply from a selection of functions. As for Wizdom intranet, this selection of functions is chosen on the basis of best practices in a number of organisations. If you do want other functions than those currently available in the product, this is possible. But these specific functions will then need to be developed from the ground up.


When you build everything from scratch, you have the absolute freedom to decide on page layout and graphic design.

With a standard solution you typically have the possibility of changing the standard design in a number of possible ways so it matches the visual identity of the client in question. Again, if you do want a page layout or graphic design which is not currently available in the standard product, this is, typically, possible. But this design will then need to be developed from the ground up.


You will bear the full responsibility for the intranet. If any problem arises after the implementation, you will need to fix it.

A third party is responsible for the intranet and possible problems that occur. In order to fix these you just need to make a phone call.

Matching the future

Any changes, new features or functions you might need in your organisation’s intranet, you will have to make yourself – if you do not pay somebody else to do it.

Development is typically a part of a standard product. As for Wizdom, new functions and features, which our clients demand, are continuously added to the product. The new features are automatically given to all clients with yearly upgrades and new versions of the product.

A standard intranet offers a low-cost, timesaving, valuable, tested and approved intranet

All of the above are the reasons why we absolutely recommend the standard approach. Again, we could be biased on this matter – but that is just because we have seen the standard solution for a SharePoint intranet work so very well.

As we wrote in the beginning of this post, we simply have not been able to come up with reasons why not to choose a standard solution for a SharePoint intranet. What is your opinion of a standard intranet solution to SharePoint versus a completely customised approach? Maybe you have good reasons why one should build an intranet on SharePoint from the ground up?

Webtop are already signed up as Silver Exhibitors for the ESP Conference 2013. Why not join them? or call +353 91 514501 to learn more about sponsorship & exhibition opportunities.

Stay tuned for more SharePoint content by joining our community or by following us on twitter or facebook.

Share this on...

Rate this Post: